05 April, 2019 - Minister Mitchell O’Connor Launches Framework for Consent in Higher Education Institutions
The Minister of State for Higher Education, Mary Mitchell O'Connor T.D. today (5th April 2019) launched the Framework for Consent in Higher Education Institutions: "Safe, Respectful, Supportive and Positive – Ending Sexual Violence and Harassment in Irish Higher Education Institutions".
The Framework aims to ensure the creation of an institutional campus culture which is safe, respectful and supportive. It has been developed by an Expert Advisory Group comprising academics, students and leaders in the area of sexual health among students. They were tasked with devising standards that all institutions will be required to implement. Funding of €400,000 is to be made available over the period 2019-2020 to assist institutions in this important work.
The four key outcomes of the Framework will be:
– Institutional culture: Effective structures in place, with institutions assigning responsibility by a management team member to implement the framework, including stakeholders in the process
– Institutional Processes: Recording and reporting of statistics of incidents
– Institutional policies: Dedicated policies consistent with the aims of the Framework, with clear lines of responsibility, reporting, transparency, and implementation supported by institutional leadership
– Targeted initiatives: for students and staff, including direct student facing activities that promote an understanding of consent, an education plan to support students and staff, systems for measuring the effectiveness of initiative s and accessible trauma-informed services.
Three current initiatives have been significant in informing the recommendations and the supporting framework: the ESHTE (Ending Sexual Harassment and Violence in Third-Level Education) project, led by the National Women's Council, the SMART Consent programme run by NUI, Galway, and the Bystander Intervention programme in UCC.